NAPL Economists Advise Taking Strategic Approach to RecoveryApril 22, 2010
• More companies report business is picking up. Business picked up or held steady for 58.4% in February, up from 56.6% in December, and considerably better than May’s 41.2% response and a record low 19.8% in March.
• Confidence holds on to most of its recent gains. Almost 30.0% of the Panel expect business to improve during the six months ahead. While down slightly from October’s and December’s levels, February’s reading is up from 22.0% last May, and 9.8% in December of 2009—an all-time low, surpassing even the months immediately following 9/11.
• Pricing and profitability show a glimmer of hope. Just 12.3% report prices higher than a year ago, representing modest improvement, but the best readings since January 2009. Downward pressure on prices seems to have peaked in the second or third quarter of 2009. Despite continued pressure on prices, pre-tax profitability ticked up in February, with 21.7% of the Panel reporting profitability increasing, compared to 17.9% in December and 12.7% in October. February’s reading was the highest reading since June 2008.
Because there is no perfect business indicator, NAPL economists have combined several indicators into a single barometer of activity—the NAPL Printing Business Index (PBI). An index reading above 50.0 means more of the companies we survey report activity is picking up than report activity is slowing down; a reading below 50.0 means the opposite.
The PBI stood at 35.0 in December, the same as in October, still quite a distance from the 50.0 dividing line, but substantially above the all-time low of 21.2 in March 2009.
Chartered in 1933, the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) is a not-for-profit business management association representing companies in the $100 billion graphic communications industry. NAPL’s comprehensive slate of business-building solutions provides company leaders with management tools that enable them to make informed business decisions in an ever-changing market environment. For more information on NAPL or its affiliated association, NAQP, visit www.napl.org or call (800) 642-6275.